What is TMJ?

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint. Each person has two joints located in front of each ear. These joints work together to connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone located on the side of the skull. Muscles attached to the jaw allow it to move properly. A disc lies between the socket in the base of the skull and the mandible. This helps absorb the shock from moving the jaw up and down.

TMJ diagram

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What is TMD?

TMD is an acronym for temporomandibular disorders. TMD is classified as pain in the TMJ and surrounding tissues. It also encompasses limitations in jaw movements. Approximately 12% of the US population is affected by TMD. There can be multiples causes of TMD. These include autoimmune diseases, infections, injuries to the jaw area, or various forms of arthritis. Some common symptoms of TMD include pain in the jaw muscles, pain in the neck and shoulders, chronic headaches, jaw muscle stiffness, limited movement or locking of the jaw, painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth and a bite that doesn’t feel properly aligned.


Simple home treatment such as eating softer foods and avoiding excessive jaw movements (chewing gum, yawning, singing) can be affective at treating TMD. Anti-inflammatory medicine or physical therapy can also be used to relive pain. Additionally, Oleynik Dental is able to create a custom night guard that may remove some of the pressure on the joint at night. To learn more about these services, please call (203)924-4731 or visit our Contact Us page for more information.